8 Atlanta Braves named to ESPN’s List of Baseball’s Top 100 Players

Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is healthy for the first time since 2001 and ready to lead the Braves to another championship.
Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is healthy for the first time since 2001 and ready to lead the Braves to another championship. / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson is having a torrid spring, batting .462 with seven home runs and a 1.594 OPS. / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Olson – 53

When Matt Olson replaced Freeman in 2022, fans wondered exactly what lay ahead. As it turned out, the answer was a league-leading 44 doubles, 34 homers,10 RBI, and an .802 OPS..

"Every generation needs that big, slugging lefty first baseman who swats impressive home runs and swings from his heels with absolutely no remorse . . . I'd bet on a batting average closer to 240 . . . (and) once again crack 100 RBIs with his 30-homer power"


Matty “Two-Bags” Olson looks far more comfortable this spring. A full season with the Braves and a normal spring training made him feel more at home and relaxed. I think he hits 35 homers and 35 doubles, and the vanishing shift pushes his average closer to .260.

Austin Riley – 18

Last season Austin Riley showed everyone he was, indeed, that guy. His 38 homers led the team and were third in the NL, and his 39 doubles put him in a tie with Trea Turner and the eventual winner of the NL batting title, Jeff McNeil.

". . . there's no doubt (now) that Riley (is) one of the game's shining stars and is perhaps even a little underrated . . . a pure basher who ranks in the top five percentile in. . . exit velocity, barrel rate and hard-hit percentage . . . expect Riley to . . . tack on 20-25 walks. . .a few more of his doubles to clear the fence, allowing him to reach the 40-homer mark. . . "


I’m glad someone outside Atlanta recognizes Riley’s growing confidence and maturity. I hope having Chipper back in camp encourages Riley to pay more attention to situational hitting. He’s a smart player who could easily drive in over 100 this year.

Sean Murphy – 66

The trade shocked Atlanta Braves fans who had fallen in love with William Contreras. Now, most understand that the Braves significantly improved on both sides of the ball by acquiring Murphy.

"‘'. . . Murphy is one of the game's top two-way backstops who hits for power, draws walks (and) was the AL's Gold Glove catcher in 2021. . .(he’s a potential NL Gold Glove catcher who) frames well . . . with an elite pop time (and the) ability to gun down would-be base thieves "


Sean Murphy's defense is indeed sterling, but he’s every bit as dangerous at the plate as he is skilled behind it. He hit 37 doubles and 18 homers in the canyon Oakland calls home and some of baseball’s biggest ballparks out west. At Truist Park, he’ll hit more of both, but keeping it reasonable, I expect 25 homers and 35 doubles.